A tall observation tower with colorful patterns on its exterior stands against a backdrop of fluffy white clouds in a blue sky, overlooking a tranquil waterway bordered by lush green foliage.

Funding Crisis Threatens Conservation Efforts in Quintana Roo

The budget for the management and preservation of Protected Natural Areas (PNAs) in Quintana Roo has been steadily declining each year. This is a cause for concern as the number of areas designated for conservation is on the rise.

Data from the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (Conanp) reveals that federal funding for the management of 24 PNAs in Quintana Roo was 6,679,316 pesos for 2024. This is a stark contrast to the 21,888,585.75 pesos allocated for just 16 protected areas in 2023. This means that this year's budget has been slashed by nearly 70%, making it increasingly difficult to carry out conservation activities and meet environmental needs.

The largest PNAs are the ones with the least funding. The Mexican Caribbean biosphere reserve had the smallest budget this year, with an equivalent of six cents allocated per hectare. It is closely followed by the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve, which received only 1.09 pesos per hectare for activities outlined in its management plan.

Gonzalo Merediz Alonso, Executive Director of the Amigos de Sian Ka’an association, highlighted that while the budget for each PNA varies according to its specific needs, their operation can be supplemented by associations. He emphasized the need for a stronger alliance between authorities and civil society, alongside more substantial budgets from the new congress and federal administration.

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Alonso explained that organizations can help secure national and international philanthropic resources, which can complement the actions of the PNAs. This allows the government's budget to be primarily used for surveillance, inspection, and the prevention of offenses, while philanthropic resources can be used for research, conservation, community participation, and environmental education activities.

PNAs play a crucial role in the sustainable development of civil society, making their conservation vital. According to Conanp, the most recently established protected areas in the state have the highest operation budgets. Across all PNAs, funding ranges from 58,000 pesos to six cents per hectare.